Augmented reality power tool helps anyone craft things

Shaper's Origin uses visual markers to show you where to cut.

Crafting with CNC mills, routers and other power tools isn't all that easy, especially if you're new to it. You'll frequently want a template, and it's all too easy to mess up a cut if you haven't developed a steady hand. Shaper doesn't think it has to be daunting, though: it's launching Origin, an augmented reality power cutter. All you need to get started is a set of visual markers ("ShaperTape" in company lingo) that create a map -- the handheld will not only show you where to cut on its screen thanks to these markers, but automatically correct your cut or retract the bit if you're veering off-course. You could be a neophyte and still create something reasonably professional-looking.

The hardware is also more portable and flexible. You're not confined to the size of a cutting bed (you can make a dining room table if you want), and you can work with materials ranging from wood to plastic. And while Shaper has its own design collection to start from, it can tie into existing design software if you already have a workflow.

Not surprisingly, a digitally-savvy tool like this won't come cheap. Pre-orders start at 12PM Eastern on August 23rd for $1,500, and that's for early buyers. Wait until it hits stores and you'll shell out $2,099. It's not really for beginners, then, unless you're well-heeled. However, it might be just the ticket if you feel limited by conventional cutters or are determined to tackle a big project with as few mistakes as possible.